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Medvedev, Putin Spend Day Fishing

Medvedev showing off a pike he caught during a fishing trip with Putin. Mikhail Klimentyev

Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin, believed to be close to a decision on which of them will run for president, spent Tuesday fishing and boating on the Volga River in a rare, day-long private meeting, the Kremlin said.

President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin went for a walk on the riverbank in the Astrakhan region, did some spin fishing, and then set off for a boat trip to take underwater pictures.

The meeting on the Volga was not announced in advance. Putin arrived from Moscow, where he met his Belarussian counterpart on Monday, while Medvedev flew in from the Black Sea resort of Sochi, where he is spending his summer vacation.

One picture posted on the Kremlin web site showed Medvedev posing in a wet suit with an underwater camera, another showed him holding a half-meter-long pike fish with Putin in the background, and in a third he was steering a motorboat.

Putin, a keen fisherman who himself donned a wet suit last week to dive at an underwater archeological site in the Black Sea, was captured struggling to take a much smaller fish off the hook.

Both Medvedev and Putin have hinted that one of them, but not both, will run in the March 2012 presidential election and are expected to make a decision soon.

The leaders' public statements, appearances and schedules have been scrutinized in recent months for signs of rivalry, a likely timing of the decision or early evidence that the decision has already been made.

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